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Saturday, February 26, 2011
Game 57: Celtics vs. Clippers

By Greg Payne

(41-15, 16-10 away)     -- vs. --     (21-38, 16-14 home)
at Staples Center, 10:30 p.m. | CSN, WEEI (850 AM)


--PAYNE'S THREE THINGS TO WATCH--
--GAME PREVIEW (via Stats Inc.)--
The Clippers traded Baron Davis to Cleveland on Thursday for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon, but neither newcomer played Friday against the Lakers because Davis had yet to take his physical.

Both hope to be cleared Saturday, but coach Vinny Del Negro thinks it's more likely they'll debut Monday at Sacramento.

The Clippers played their first game in Los Angeles since Feb. 2 on Friday, but their matchup with the Lakers was technically an away game -- their 11th in a row. To cap the league's longest road trip since 1978, the Clippers trailed by just two at halftime but were outscored 33-17 in the third quarter en route to a 108-95 loss.

Read the full preview HERE.

--MEET BOSTON'S NEW FACES--

The Celtics and Jeff Green aren't exactly strangers, seeing as Boston selected him with the fifth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, before including him in the trade package to Seattle that brought over Ray Allen. Green's steadily developed into a solid offensive NBA player, who's shooting range extends all the way out to the three-point line. Standing at 6-foot-9, Green is capable of filling in at the power forward position, but given the Celtics' depth at that position in Kevin Garnett and Glen Davis, look for Green to serve as more of a necessary backup to Paul Pierce. Green's versatile enough to play the small forward position, and he'll bring some much needed stability and offensive firepower to Boston's bench. Green was averaging over 15 points and five rebounds per game for the Thunder this season. In addition, he's a strong, quick body that should come in handy for the Celtics on the defensive end, when they face teams with talented small forwards like LeBron James and Luol Deng. Overall, the Celtics are bringing in a talented player, who, at 24, will have an immediate impact on this team, and should play a key role on the teams of the future. Green's contract expires at the end of this season, and while a new collective bargaining agreement has yet to be put in place, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge clearly felt the team could lock Green up long-term when they made this deal.

The Celtics also brought in Nenad Krstic, who isn't exactly the second coming of Kendrick Perkins. Krstic, who stands right at seven feet tall, entered the league several seasons ago with a lot of promise as a member of the New Jersey Nets. He played for the Nets for four seasons, coached by none other than current Celtics assistant coach, Lawrence Frank. Krstic was in the midst of his most productive season during the 2006-2007 campaign, when he tore the ACL in his left knee during a game in December of 2006. Krstic put up solid numbers for Oklahoma City this season (7.6 points and 4.4 rebounds in 21.7 minutes) and he'll serve as a reliable backup center for Boston once Shaquille O'Neal returns from his inflamed right Achilles tendon. Krstic isn't as physical of a defender as Perkins was, nor will he be as productive on the glass, but he's much more versatile on the offensive end, as he's capable of scoring inside, or stepping out and knocking down the 16-foot jump shot. Once he becomes acclimated with the Celtics' system, he could very well become more productive on the defensive end of the floor.